Cabbage field in HaitiCrops are plants grown for food, either for people or for livestock, or to make textiles, fuel or other products. Some kinds of fungi and algae are also crops. Permanent crops are plants that occupy the land for a number of years and are not replanted after each harvest: examples are fruit and coffee beans, which grow on shrubs and trees. Arable crops must be replanted after each harvest. The most important arable crops are the cereals: these provide many people with their basic source of food, their staple diet. Other important arable crops are vegetables, sugar cane, soya beans, rape, cotton and groundnuts.
Algaculture is the farming of algae, which are simple plant-like organisms that grow in water or on damp surfaces. Algaculture involves the growing of algae in open tanks and ponds or in photobioreactors (closed containers in which moisture, light and other conditions are controlled). One of the most commonly farmed algae is purple laver, a seaweed. It is widely eaten in Japan (as nori, a wrap for sushi) and is used in Wales to make laverbread. Other algae are farmed to produce health foods, food thickeners, colorants and dyes, fertilizers, bioplastics, drugs and other chemicals. They are also used to manufacture biofuels such as biogas.
Kale is a vegetable grown all over the world, forming an important part of many local cuisines. In East Africa, it is an essential ingredient in a stew eaten with the staple ugali. In northern Germany, kale is so revered, most communities have an annual festival in which a kale king or queen is crowned.
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